The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) is disheartened by the announcement that Leeds United football club is planning to play two matches inside of Burma. The matches will be sponsored by AYA Bank, owned by Zaw Zaw; a crony of the Burmese military who is blacklisted by the United States Government for this connection. Burma’s security forces stand accused of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya population, in parallel to intensifying human rights violations against the ethnic Kachin and Shan people.
Commenting on the announcement today BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win, said: “It is a deeply disappointing decision against the backdrop grave atrocities committed by the Burmese military. It is unthinkable that the club have decided to partner with an individual with established ties to those responsible for these atrocities. I urge Leeds United to immediately reconsider their decision – to go ahead is to be complicit in normalizing individuals and entities implicated in war crimes.
Ultra-nationalists in Hinthada Township have made significant efforts to confiscate and destroy a local cemetery, which has been owned and operated by Muslims for the past 138 years. Hinthada has a Muslim population of about 6,000 and the cemetery is a significant place for them in regards to religion, dignity, family, history and culture.
The land was registered as garden land under the numbers 114/0.857 acre and 116/1.731 acre. Successive governments permitted the land to be used as a cemetery until 1994 when they revoked permission. Following this local Muslims purchased a plot of land situated in the outskirts of town and they have used it as a cemetery for the past 24 years. Since that time, the old cemetery has been used as a gathering place for devotees to pray on days of religious significance.
Authorities have sentenced seven Muslim men to three months in jail for organising prayers in the street in Tharkayta Township, in Yangon. The events in question took place nearly one year ago and the sentence was based on the Ward and village Tract Administration Law, which prohibits unauthorized pubic gatherings, though legal authorities have argued there is a clear exemption for religious events.
The Tharkayta Township court ruled against the seven men on April 30th, 2018 following a trial against the men for organising a street prayer event on Ahnawmar 13 Street in Ward Number 1 in Tharkayta Townhip. The men were praying in the street following the sealing off of two Islamic schools on Ahnawmar 11 and 12 Streets in Tharkayta on April 28th of 2017, following protests and pressure from Buddhist ultra-nationalists groups. The schools were closed following complaints that Muslims were using them to host prayers.